A classic case of marketing:
Customers have a need: something to munch upon between meals. The marketers respond with products, and how !!
In recent times, the mid-meals snacks segment has been the target of a lot many companies, attacking it with completely different products. The products attack the hunger pangs in the span of time between lunch or dinner, roughly between 3 and 8 pm.
Let us see what all has been tried for the same:
A. Standard Snacks
1. Frito Lays (Pepsico) – Practically created the snacking category with its range of internationally known and sold products. Positioning is on being the perfect party food.
Frito Lays has also positioned its new product, Aliva, as a chai-time snack, and a healthy one at that.
2 . Kurkure – Indianized snacks, based on the unorganized sector of snacks and ‘namkeens’. With 3-4 variants, again based on the Indian pallette.
3. Bingo (ITC) – ITC’s direct attack on Lays. The positioning was on the innovation in terms of flavors, bringing out an entirely new range of flavours, typical of the Indians, like the ones based on pickles and all. Also included some innovation on packaging (shape of the wafers – a couple of them are uniquely traiangular as opposed to a conventional shape)
4. Hippo (Parle Agro) – Similar to Bingo in introducing flavor innovation, but the innovation is in terms of international flavors, as in, they have introduced variants like thai manchurian. These are baked ‘munchies’, supposedly healthy, and projected with a concept of attacking the hunger as a solution to all problems.
The segment was famously started by Maggi with its 2 mins campaign. Top Ramen followed, did not do well and now Horlicks has entered with its own variant of healthy noodles, named Foodles
Both Maggi and Knorr soups project soups as an ideal mid-meal hunger solutions. They are right now focussed on expanding the pie size instead of building market share. Knorr has utilized Kajol, depicting a ubiquitous mother-son argument (Knorr here talks about the 7 o’clock kinds’ hunger) :
They have also come up with soupy noodles now, purportedly to mix the goodness of both soups and noodles. Knorr is very active on Facebook as well. Check this out: http://www.facebook.com/KnorrSoup
There are other product types attacking the same segment, like Act II, Snickers, Horlicks Nutirbar etc.
Like Knorr, Snickers talks about a specific time zone: 4 o’clock, with its following campaign on ‘jab hunger bajaye chaar‘:
Hence, although these products are widely different from each other, they are still fighting with each other, primarily because the consumption of one makes the other one useless (If u have some Maggi, you are not gonna buy Lays – hence, a mutually exclusive proposition).
Market Sustainability – The market might be able to sustain this influx of products, especially since it is driven strongly by pre-teens, teens and the youth, who always crave for variety, thus creating space for multiple brands. But market leadership, which is in the hands of Lays (perhaps the first-mover advantage can be credited for it), can soon change hands, especially because FMCG giants have entered the market, with great operational and distributional efficiency, marketing acumen and experience, as well as brand image.
This should turn into an interesting case of marketing warfare